Issue 4 - 8 May 2012 enews home

Midwifery students celebrate their special day

By Patrick Nelson

Adam Bourke

Lecturer in Midwifery Jillian Richards listens to the heartbeat of Jackie Simmonds' unborn baby while fellow students Rachelle Bills and Megan Cantwell stand ready to lend a helping hand

International Midwives Day in early May held extra significance for Charles Darwin University student and new-mum-to-be Jackie Simmonds.

Jackie, who is seven months pregnant, was one of 50 students to enrol in the Bachelor of Midwife course when CDU offered the program through its Alice Springs campus for the first time at the beginning of the year.

"We gathered at the campus library for a celebration and a web conference featuring some highly regarded presenters."

Jackie said her student colleagues and lecturer saw the irony in a midwifery student who was pregnant.

"They have taken a healthy interest in my progress and been very supportive, which reinforces why I took on this course in the first place.

"Midwifery is my passion. It's everything I want to be. I really enjoy being an advocate for women, for being a voice for them, and this course is equipping me with the essential knowledge that I need to follow my passion."

Lecturer in Midwifery Jillian Richards said the three-year undergraduate program was an important response to the Territory-wide shortfall in registered midwives.

"It is a flexible program delivered primarily through our online environment, offering rigorous course work that is reinforced by intensive study blocks and clinical placements in the Northern Territory," she said.

"It means we can grow our own Territorian midwives and we can ensure our graduates, who will be providing maternity services in the future, will have a sound regard for the cultural differences that exists in our population."

Ms Richards said Alice Springs campus would host access to a web conference to celebrate International Day of Midwives this Saturday in the library from 10am – 1pm.

"Birth advocate Lisa Barrett, independent midwife Michelle Zimmerman and the University of Wollongong's Moira Stephens will give presentations that will be relevant to anyone with an interest in midwifery or maternal health."